RALEIGH -- Campbell Law School’s Connections mentorship program has been selected to receive the 2016 E. Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Award from the American Bar Association (ABA). Connections exposes students and newly-minted attorneys to valuable learning opportunities and experiences by partnering them with practicing legal professionals. Campbell Law Assistant Dean of External Relations Megan West Sherron (L ’10) serves as program director.
“This award recognizes the immense amount of work and resources we have dedicated to this program that gives our third year students an opportunity unique among law schools,” said Campbell Law Dean J. Rich Leonard.
Campbell Law will formally collect the award and a cash prize of $3,500 at the ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco on Saturday, Aug. 6.
“We’re excited that the ABA has recognized the success of our mentorship program,” said Sherron. “We strive to provide special opportunities for our students to learn and grow, and this award simply reassures our deeply-held beliefs that Connections is a fantastic benefit to our students.”
Connections, a joint endeavor between Campbell Law and the Wake County Bar Association, builds upon the law school’s professionalism focus that permeates its core curriculum. Student mentees in the Connections program develop meaningful professional relationships and a more thorough understanding of the responsibilities and ethics demanded by the practice of law under the tutelage of a mentor.
The program began with a pilot phase during the Spring 2014 semester, and was opened to the third-year class and expanded to the entire academic year at the beginning of the Fall 2014 semester. More than one hundred established and seasoned practicing legal professionals have already served as professional mentors for the program.
All mentors have been selected from the Tenth Judicial District Bar and include representation from solo practitioners, large-scale law firms, government-sector attorneys, in-house corporate counsel, non-profit counsel, and other practitioners. Mentors maintain regular contact with the program director to report on the development and status of the mentor/mentee relationship throughout the course of the program.
The Gambrell Awards were established in 1991 and are named for E. Smythe Gambrell, ABA and American Bar Foundation president from 1955 to 1956. The Awards honor excellence and innovation in professionalism programs by law schools, bar associations, professionalism commissions and other law-related organizations. In selecting Connections, the Gambrell Award Judges and selection committee found the program to represent an exemplary law student and new lawyer mentoring program model, embracing best practices and effective strategies, as well as a model bar/law school partnership for others to follow.
The honor marks the second time a Campbell Law program has received the coveted award, as the law school previously collected it in 2003 for the First-Year Professionalism Development Series.